31 December 2019

First AHIQ Prompt, 2020

Improvisational quilting takes many forms. Some people think it means bright {or even gaudy} colors. Others think it means mismatched seams. This list of "rules" goes on and on until it robs us of all the joy of creativity. So stop and make a New Year's resolution to listen to your inner voice, to commit to making what you need, to expressing the inchoate ideas filling your heart.

Kaja and I take a very broad view. We believe improvisation means figuring out a way to use your resources - including but not limited to fabric, thread, dye, embellishments - in any ways that meet your ideas. Perfection is not the goal; completion is. Finishing one often leads to further visions as we meet the technical realities of creation. Everything is welcome but utility quilts delight our hearts - those that are made to be used rather than stored in a box to be taken out on special occasions only.

Our goals for this blog include encouraging recognition of the originality and creativity of every creator, to see the tangible evidence of love quilts represent. We invite new quilters to take up this craft. We hope to teach future generations to admire quilts and to love these gifts from their family.

So it could be a new block you are working out, or a fabric you've wanted to use, or the need to put warm covers on your family's beds. You might want to stretch yourself to sew scraps together more creatively or to test a new technique. All experimentation means improvising. Use of limited resources can also equate with improvisation.

Please share your work here and participate in the prompts as you feel inspired. They are designed broadly to encompass many definitions, to spark individual ideas and we hope this site is a general location to share with each other.

Kaja and I email each other regularly discussing future prompts and we both had the simple hourglass block in our lists. Hourglasses and the turn of the year both mark time so this seemed quite timely. {Pun intended.}

It's a very simple block made of four quarter square triangles {QSTs.} It can be cut with rotary tools or freehand. Sujata Shah made several quilts using this block in Cultural Fusion Quilts.  The traditional arrangement highlights the hourglass shape by using a light and a dark fabric on opposite sides but there is no reason to follow that suggestion unless it inspires you. It can be a center or a border; it can be an entire quilt or part of a larger block such as an Ohio Star. Scrappy or limited palette. Large or small.

Or you can take the idea and do something else with it. That's improvisation. What does it mean to you?

We invite you to join us in exploring Hourglass. Use the hashtag #AHIQhourglass so we can find your work and post your progress on the AHIQ blog here.

Happy New Year!

30 December 2019

The Flower Challenge Has Been Conquered!

So the last project of 2019 ended up being the #ahiqflowers prompt! I finally brought this one to finished quilt top stage which feels really amazing.
I wrote about this quilt over my blog until your eyes will probably glaze over and/or you'll start snoozing. It was a great challenge by the end, and as always, a wonderful adventure to try and interpret one of the Kiracofe 'Unconventional and Unexpected' quilts all at the same time. These prompts start the process of looking and thinking about specific inspiration. Leading us you might say. But the results are totally unique and up to us. The open-ended perimeters are enormously attractive to me! From these seeds, it's so, so easy to end up on an unexpected journey ourselves. These simple challenges undoubtedly nudge us out of our safe little comfort zone if we want them too. If we let them. And that's a good thing. I could have started any number of quilts just using floral fabric, I love them that much! So glad that I went down this particular path instead. Some quilts just deserve their day in the sun. Thank you Ann & Kaja!

20 December 2019

Flowers Challenge - Not Much to Show

Back in July I shared this post.

Since then I have finished only one of those projects.

The other quilt tops are still waiting to be quilted.

Sigh -- I had such good intentions.

And that plan for the Otsego project has been revised.

Since this photo was taken,
the revised version has been cut out and is ready to sew, 
which at least demonstrates a bit of progress.

There's always next year . . . 

17 December 2019

Flowers on the Ocean Border

How time flies. All those ideas for flower quilts are still in my head but I finally added some to the Ocean Waves quilt made from some of the thousands of extra HSTs. I deliberately made extra because several people I love requested this design but then... we started traveling back and forth, the shoebox was put on a shelf and mixed with boxes of real shoes. It's good to clean at some interval or it would never have resurfaced.

Half flower pinned on the sides

While the blue striped yardage from Kaja was in my hand binding another quilt, I realized it blended with many of the blue in Tethys Waves. For a short while I considered flowers with blue petals but some reds pulled for another idea brought this red and white batik to light. Only a small amount and it seemed to blend beautifully with the red squares.

Here a quick photo of the current state. The red really tones down those horrible white gaps. {They looked like missing teeth - in reverse.} Now both reds are gone and only the smallest scrap of blue remains so here's hoping the machine stitching goes well.

Half flowers added to Ocean Waves
My other flower ideas will have to wait for next year but at least this is a nod to the prompt and an old WIP moves along.

14 December 2019

Checking In

Playing With Scale #2 is done and dusted! It's a concept that I have no doubt will continue to show up again and again in future quilting efforts. Am still very intrigued by free-cut strips too. There's just something about the off-perfect lines that appeal to this utility-look loving quilter! You can read more about this quilt at my blog if you like. Overall, I'd say this quilt idea was a success. I'm always happy when a fun stack of fabric winds up being turned into a spunky looking quilt!
Second time around
Also, I recently posted the update on this U&U interpretation project. It's the base inspiration for the #AHIQFlowers prompt. I'm leaving it up on the design wall until all the little pieces are decided on and sewn together. It may take me clear till the end of the year, but this one is going to be moved along one way or another.
U&U Interpretation quilt for #AHIQFlowers challenge
Was working late into the evening the other day, fiddling and fiddling and fiddling. Then finally something sort of gelled for me and the entire quilt started making sense. For the left side of the quilt I had only been focusing on getting the shape and spirit of the quilt to shine through. Now, it's slowly starting to become 'my' quilt and I can see bits and pieces of my own quilty voice coming through.*sigh  FINALLY.  

I'll show pictures when it's finished, but I just wanted to be on record that I am working on this quilt though progress is oh-so-slow. While process pictures are usually interesting, this quilt is not very receptive. I'm too 'in the moment' to want to disrupt any important thought process and derail an entire evenings momentum! One thing I got rid of was the big chunk of yellow numbers fabric in the bottom right corner. Just too distracting. Also, I changed out the peachy fabric in the upper right for something a bit stronger looking. Same color, just a bit bolder. Little changes. It's all good. Gonna turn out just fine in the end I think.

12 December 2019

AHIQ Floral Quilt Challenge Finish, Almost, New Photos of Hand Quilting.

Grey Star with hand quilting added.

Hand quilting around second grey star.

Hello from Rancho Palos Verdes!

I've been making progress on my 'Grey Star' improv art quilt.
I started it thinking of the AHIQ floral challenge. 

Finding a blue small floral that I liked and mixing it with a few prints, shirtings and Kona cotton solids, I pieced together units experimenting with scale and color.
Deciding blue was the most important color, I used red and yellow as spice colors.

The plan was to keep it small and I stuck with that after a few disappointing run-ins with borders.

And here it is, machine quilted in the photo, in an informal grid as of last week. Then, this week, I realized that hand quilting would add lots of texture. And so I have added hand quilting and I love the texture. Here's two photos of current hand quilting.

That's the progress from the rancho! 

It's almost Christmas, so wonderful. I got to hear little children sing Christmas Carols today, they were delightful.
Enjoy the holidays, I'll be by to visit.